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Old 10-02-2015, 04:37 PM
Undeadprotoss Undeadprotoss is offline

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Default GSOS: Starcraft's story development

Hello everyone, you may know me for some of my thread "The Grand Survey of Starcraft" and "Can the Forsaken be Redeemed". I've only recently joined scrolls of lore, but when I did I interviewed several members regarding their ideas on a series of questions regarding the story, art-style, and game play of Starcrat 1 and Brood War versus SC2, so that I might make three separate posts on those topics. (You can find the most recent survey format here:
http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/18719273722)

Seeing as this forum revolves around the lore of Blizzard games, this thread will serve as my opinon of the general difference in story telling, story quality, character development, etc. I will of course attempt to delve into how a player perceives story through game-play and art, meaning that there will be some crossover. That being said, what follows this paragraph is a summary what people who I surveyed in game, online, etc, and written criticisms elsewhere, believed about the story, and then my opinions after playing the games myself and surveying others, I will attempt to respond to as many comments and criticisms as I can, as well as edit in more text as I remember or hear good points:

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Of the people I've talked to, I've noticed a spectrum. There is a size-able chunk of players (in-game mainly) which view the SC2 campaign and story as of moderate to somewhat good quality, some people didn't feel very strongly about the campaign either way, and considered it to be OK.

On the other end are people who expressed a degree of disappointment, while others, like me, viewed the story as being lackluster and were very sensitive to many perceived flaws in the story.

Mostly, complaints seemed to revolve around the following:

- Something that came up a couple times was Kerrigan's plot development, specifically how her transformation, anti-hero nature, and personality were handled. Some found that her tendency to use extreme violence and often outright disregard for innocent life made her much more difficult to sympathize with. One poster in particular noted

"Kerrigan's characterization flip-flopped in the bits we saw before release from unrepentant monster, amnesiac, and penitent anti-hero. Instead of sticking with one, we got a jumbled mess of all-of-the-above, and it did not work"

-Very dramatic character shifts in general aside from just Kerrigan, characters are seen as having less depth, becoming more one-dimensional. It seemed to me that characters such as Mengsk, Zeratul, Raynor, etc were expressed in a microcosmic fashion, instead of written out subtleties in character achieved through dialogue, their personalities become more narrow and singular, as one person put it:

"Kerrigan goes from a god-like sociopath liberated from chains she had worn ever since she was a child to a sexy alien stripper who just needs to be shown how to love again. Raynor goes from an angry old man determined to tear down two people he once considered his friends but who had used and betrayed him for their own designs to a stereotypical idealist freedom-fighter. Mengsk goes from a charismatic snake in the grass to a bumbling wannabe dictator who can't even control his own damn state media. Zeratul goes from an ancient and powerful warrior with a gruff and cynical outlook on life and the universe to an old fool feebly chasing shadows."

The youtuber Rhykker, whom I interviewed as well, brought up criticims she raised in a written review as well.

" Without getting into spoiler territory, the decisions Kerrigan makes, the words she speaks, and the actions she takes make it difficult for me to want to see her succeed. I?ve always been fond of morally grey characters, but every well-written grey character has a redeeming quality that allows the audience to sympathize with her ? and I simply couldn?t find that in Kerrigan." (

-Dialogue for some was not seen as a strong point, both in terms of character identity and structure. In the words of one poster: "As for the dialogue, it went from well-written monologues to average one-liners."

-Lack of powerful themes, and dramatic plot moment. One person in particular mentioned feeling that the story felt contrived.

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Now for my thoughts, personally, I agree with many of the complaints above, what really stands out to me is:

-A lack of continuity with the Original SC and BW characters. I think this is most powerful in Zeratul, Kerrigan, and Raynor,and now with Artanis. in that order. To me, Zeratul dosen't feel at all like the same person. As a complaint that also applies generally to the non-human characters, he seems to have this disconnect, the same kind that one feels whenever Izsha or Abathur try to make sense of Kerrigan's human motives or reasoning, it's very difficult to put a finger on, I will come back to this and attempt to articulate it in a better fashion.

-A lack of new, significant plot elements. I've noticed this with Warcraft specifically, that is, new factions and characters which REALLY change up the story do not seem to be prevalent, and when they are, they often are connected to an existing character. In HoL and HoTS, the only characters that come in tend to only serve a secondary role, Matt Horner, Stukov, Rory Swanson, Abathur Tosh, etc, who, while entertaining, do not bring to the story what Alexi Stukov, Admiral DuGalle, Artanis, etc brought in Brood War. With the current format, it is potentially very difficult to add characters of that scope who are not villains, as the "main character" you play as (Artanis, Zeratul, and Jim Raynor) would likely have to interact with them in some way.

-Differences in writing structure. While I touched on this briefly in the survey summary, I do think it is one of the two problems most responsible for what I see as SC2's problems with its story.

These differences primarily arise when comparing story-telling mechanics and devices. In the original, as well as Brood War, for example, story is explained to us mainly through mission briefings, entertaining, 2-4 minute long interactions from 1-4 characters, often regarding the current situation, as well as sometimes the aftermath of the previous mission(s). Dialogue also frequently takes place within the mission, typically at the end, when the screen will pause and the characters will speak to one another, and will typically be physically present on the map.

In SC2, as far as raw numbers go, it is likely that there is objectively far more written dialogue. HOWEVER, this takes place in the form of conversations while on that race's base of operation/. HOWEVER, because these conversations are completely optional, they usually cannot include vital plot elements and character development that are important enough to merit them being put in missions, briefings, and cut-scenes.

Cut-scenes and mission briefings (albeit in a very different format). c. There will often be a surprise that will later serve as the unique game play mechanic for that mission. Unlike BW/OG they do not possess nearly as much back and fourth between characters or story exposition. Monologues that we see in the original/BW are very rare, if at all present.

This ends up working against SC2, for the simple fact that every single story requires a certain minimum of "structural work". A certain minimum of dialogue and exposition is required to build the universe as a whole, as well as the characters. Without properly directly communicating the world building to the audience, subtle motifs, character motivations, and related nuances simply are not noticed by the audience, leaving an incomplete picture.

Last edited by Undeadprotoss; 10-02-2015 at 04:42 PM..
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